I've got a 2006 Honda Civic DX 4 door sedan. I had a work accident a few years ago and injured my spine and was forced to take my car off the road. I'm finally back to work, in okay health and am ready to start driving it again.

I've been buying what I can for parts and tools to get it to start going again. I replaced the battery, completed the rear brakes, now I'm on to the front.

Here is where I'm having a problem. Please keep in mind I am nothing but a "youtube mechanic", so please go easy on me lol. Go slow and try to explain it in terms I can understand lol (I am google dependent for vocabulary as well).

I purchased the front brake rotors and pads on amazon and the calipers at a local shop.

When I went to replace the new pads on the old calipers, the clips were all rusted and they just didn't want to slide in so i decided to purchase new calipers.

NOW they clip in okay, the piston is compressed BUT they will not fit over top of the rotor! The pads are too close together. The new rotor matches the old rotors. They slid on with ease, same patterns, same thickness. The pads seemed to match the old ones as well but they came as a set anyways.

I didn't take an extremely close look at the calipers when I exchanged them as cores at the parts store but they seemed to match up and they did a search based on my VIN. The caliper fit on the mounting bracket, over top of the rotors without the pads installed so I still feel as if the calipers are okay.

My question... are my parts wrong? If so... which one should I replace? Am I missing a step? I can't afford to take it to a shop and don't really have any friends that can help me. Any advice or help would be deeply appreciated.

Yours truly,

The Whiney YouTube Mechanic

  • 2
    Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! More than likely you just need to compress the caliper some more. New pads/rotors are going to be at full thickness, meaning the amount of space you have between is going to be very minimal. If squeezing the caliper just a little more doesn't do it, then I'd suggest you got the wrong parts. You could possibly shave some of the brake material off of the pad to gain a little bit of thickness, but it would be a LOT of work, considering the whole idea behind the brake pads is to resist wear and produce friction in the process. Feb 3, 2020 at 1:07
  • I have seen this happen if the clip in bracket are put in the wrong way. Not sure the shape of yours, but sometimes they are designed for a specific side and location in the caliper. Some have guides which need to point away from the rotor. If they point towards, you cannot put it over the rotors. Would make sure of the installation and if sure its correct, then you likely have a wrong part and need to isolate which part it is
    – Chris
    Feb 3, 2020 at 4:20
  • 1
    On my car the pistons have to be pushed back flush with the caliper surface for the new pads to be able to fit. Did you push them back far enough?
    – Solar Mike
    Feb 3, 2020 at 7:48
  • Is the slider mechanism that the caliper fastens to able to slide or has it seized? If you take the caliper off the slider mechanism, can you then fit the rotor between the pads?
    – HandyHowie
    Feb 3, 2020 at 14:23
  • 1
    Possible cause here>>>mechanics.stackexchange.com/a/54560/16882
    – Moab
    Feb 4, 2020 at 1:38

1 Answer 1


You said the issue applies to front brakes, hence incomplete retraction is probably not the issue (rear brakes often need to be screwed in rather than pushed in).

On front calipers, when the pistons are fully retracted, they should often be flush with caliper body. Are yours flush? If not, try to push them in more.

If your pads are of the wrong thickness, they won't fit brand new. This is rare but happened to me once, I don't know if I ordered the wrong part or I was sent the wrong part but I had the exact same issue you are having. If the space inside the caliper/caliper bracket is insufficient to fit the rotor and two pads (never mind where the piston is), then something is too big.

Go to an auto parts store and ask for another set of brake pads. Compare shape and thickness to your brake pads. If pads match, repeat for the rotors.

It is also possible that the parts on your car don't match what the car is supposed to have, i.e. someone installed wrong/different parts. Is the car modified in any other way?

If you are installing brand new calipers, rotors and pads, everything should assemble smoothly and not require force.

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